Semyon Varlamov spent the better part of last week doing a brick-wall impression. Skaters from Winnipeg, Buffalo, St. Louis, and Dallas each tried their hand at scoring against the 27-year old Avalanche goalie, and 97.2% of their shots were politely turned away with an array of butterfly pad saves and deft glove work. For his efforts, he was awarded the NHL's 1st Star of the Week, just ahead of Lee Stempniak of the New Jersey Devils and Brian Elliott of the St. Louis Blues -- who was outstanding against the Avalanche this past Friday, but ultimately not as impressive as Varlamov.
The Russian "nyet-minder" propelled Colorado to a 4-0 record during this stretch, including wins over three Central Division rivals. The Avalanche, 8-2-0 in the last ten games, now sit in the Western Conference's 1st Wild Card spot and are just nine points back of the 3rd Place Blues with two games in hand. The Avalanche, in a cutthroat division, still have an upward battle toward the playoffs; but if Varlamov can continue this torrid pace, it will be other teams chasing when the regular season concludes in April.